This caused me to begin meditating on the nature of brotherhood. You see we in the Christian realm call every one brother (or sister) without much thought to what the term means. True Christain brotherhood is rooted in the attoning work of Christ. When we accept His sacrifice, we are adopted into the family of God. This is all good, but do we ever really practice the concept of true brotherhood. A true brother has several characteristics that seldom are seen in Christian circles. A brother always has your back, even if you're in the wrong, he will not allow you to be attacked. He may come to you, but he will not allow anyone to confront you but him. A brother also expects you to have his back.
A quick side story: I always look for a certain characteristic in a best friend. My best friend must be someone that I trust to put my back against in a fight and know that you will have to kill him to get to my back because I will do the same. You can see why I have only had a handfull of best friends in forty-seven plus years.
A brother will also give you what he has. He never holds back for his own benefit. We sing a song that calls Jesus our brother. He didn't hold back on our behalf, yet we tend to pull back if the sacrifice seems to be too much. A brother is never too far away to help. This was evident as some of the brothers at the memorial came from hundreds of miles and several hours away just to pay homage to one who shared this bond of brotherhood. A brother also shares your passion. The bond of having common interests brings conversation that builds a connection too deep to be easily broken.
Now you are most likely wondering, "What's your point?" My point is: How much different would church be if we practiced true brotherhood. First we would have to prove ourselves worthy of the bond. Too many times, we simply take the word of the person that he or she is family. Now don't think that I am condoning a judgemental, condemning attitude. What I am saying is that we should see some evidence before we acknowledge someone as a brother or sister. Once that person is confirmed (This is the only term I could think of), we should afford to him or her the full benefits of the Brotherhood.
Think of how different a pastor would be able to perform his calling if he knew that we had his back. What freedom would he have to instruct and enable if we freed him to know that his words were received by a heart devoted to living out the brotherhood lifestyle. How much would people want to be a part of our family if they could only see in us the true bond that cannot be easily broken.
Scripture tells us that we are loved by God the Father because He calls us His children. (1 John 3) We are also told that we are joint heirs with Jesus meaning that we are His brothers and sisters. Have you ever considered the weight of carrying the family name of Christ? We are told by the Apostle Paul to live in a manner worthy of our calling. To me this is not a man's opinion of "morality" but a devotion to the (here it is again) brotherhood.
I have determined to be more careful of using the term "brother" in the future. The beauty of the faith is that it is open to all, and anyone willing to acknowledge and follow Jesus IS a part of the Brotherhood of Faith.
Till we meet again, think about how deep the bond runs and ride safe!